Tatas see exits of senior executives amid corona storm


MUMBAI/CHENNAI: Several familiar faces at the Tata Group are exiting the country’s largest conglomerate amid a business upheaval and challenges caused by the pandemic.
The design head of the group’s flagship Tata Motors, Pratap Bose, is leaving after a 14-year stint even as the homegrown automobile major searches for a CEO candidate to replace Guenter Butschek, who is on an extension till June-end. Richa Sharma of Tata Consumer Products too is on her way out after leading its packaged foods business for seven years.
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While Bose and Sharma are heading for greener pastures, others like TCS, Titan and Tata Elxsi’s chief financial officers V Ramakrishnan, S Subramaniam and Muralidharan H V, respectively, are superannuating. Recently, Renu Basu retired as senior VP (sales & marketing) at Indian Hotels Company (Taj) after more than a two-decade stint.
Senior leadership exits are happening at the Tata Group at a time when the conglomerate is seeing mixed performance with some of its businesses languishing and others flourishing. Despite its myriad interests, TCS continues to be the biggest money spinner for the conglomerate.
Group chairman emeritus Ratan Tata’s half-brother Noel Tata, who is MD at Tata International, will be relinquishing his executive responsibilities at the company this November when he turns 65. He, however, will continue as the non-executive chairman of Trent, Voltas and Tata Investment Corporation. According to Tata Group’s HR policy, executives superannuate at the age of 60, while executive directors retire at 65 and non-executive members at 70. Key positions across major Tata companies are increasingly being filled in by lateral hires as compared to a decade ago when internal executives were promoted to helm those roles.
Bose, based in Warwick, UK, oversees three design centres of Tata Motors in Pune, Turin (Italy) and Coventry (UK). Tata Motors declined to comment on Bose’s departure. Bose has made significant contributions to all Tata Motors models that have been launched with the Impact 2.0 design element — from the hatchback Tiago to the SUV Harrier and the recently launched Safari.
Sharma, who joined Tata Chemicals in 2014, moved to Tata Consumer Products after the latter acquired the foods portfolio from the former. The foods business was the second biggest contributor to Tata Consumer’s earnings during the third quarter of fiscal 2021.